Agency or authority
What this permitting pathway covers
The General Order for Small Habitat Restoration Projects is a faster and simpler permitting process than the Individual 401 Water Quality Certification process and is intended for qualifying small restoration projects up to 5 acres or 500 cumulative linear feet in size.
- Typically authorized by your local Regional Water Quality Control Board.
- Works very efficiently with the California Department of Fish and Wildlife’s Habitat Restoration and Enhancement Act (HREA)
- Projects larger than 5 acres should consider the Statewide Restoration General Order (SRGO), which is designed to cover eligible projects that do not qualify for coverage under the Small Habitat Restoration General Order.
Eligibility for coverage under this Order is limited to discharges that meet the following criteria:
- California Environmental Quality Act – The project shall be eligible for a categorical exemption under California Code of Regulations title 14, section 15333, “Small Habitat Restoration Projects”.
- Project Size – The project size shall not exceed five acres or a cumulative total of 500 linear feet of stream bank or coastline. The cumulative linear foot limit applies just to the direct area of impact (e.g. where shovels/equipment are entering the ground). Consider using the Calculator for Determining Project Disturbance Area for Large Wood Augmentation Projects developed by the Wood for Salmon Working Group, and the accompanying Visual Guidance for Calculating Disturbance Area for Large Wood Augmentation Projects per CEQA Categorical Exemption 15333 and Water Board General 401 Certification for Small Habitat Restoration Projects to determine if your project fits within the size limit. If your project exceeds the size limits of this Order, consider using the Statewide Restoration General Order (SRGO), which is intended to cover eligible projects that do not meet the project size-related requirements of this Order.
- Pre-Project Authorization – This Order authorizes discharges only if the State Water Board and/or appropriate Regional Water Board have received a Notice of Intent (NOI) and issued a Notice of Applicability (NOA) for the project.
- Compensatory Mitigation Projects – The project shall not be a compensatory mitigation project.
- Primary Project Purpose – This Order authorizes activities whose primary purpose is habitat restoration. The project shall not be for restoration and enhancement conducted as part of a larger project whose primary purpose is not habitat restoration. e.g., land development or flood management.
- Construction Duration – The construction period shall not exceed five years.
May be used with:
- CDFW Habitat Restoration and Enhancement Act (HREA)
- CEQA Categorical Exemption 15333 – Small Habitat Restoration Projects
- Marin Permit Coordination Program
- USACE Nationwide Permit 27 – Aquatic Habitat Restoration
- USFWS PBO for Projects that May Affect the California Red-legged Frog (Ventura FWO)
- South Coast NMFS Programmatic Biological Opinion (PBO)
- North Coast NMFS Programmatic Biological Opinion (PBO)
- Central Coast NMFS Programmatic Biological Opinion (PBO)